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Posted on September 7, 2016 in Featured Artists by Katie
It is my pleasure today to introduce you to this very talented sculptor, Bettie Griffin. Bettie is so talented! Her sculptures are fun, carefree, and filled with humor!
I originally went to schòol to be an environmental engineer, but my life had a different idea. I married and my son came about a year later. Since I had always been creative, I started a home business selling crafts. I taught floral design at various craft stores and the community college, assisted interior decorators, and planned and implemented weddings and special events. Then, I discovered painting and I was hooked ! I turned everything into my canvas; junk furniture, walls, and anything that stood still. Being in Paducah, Kentucky makes it really easy to become involved with the arts. It is the only UNESCO city, in the United States. UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
I had sold my art through different venues and was living in the Lowertown artist district, when I became very ill. I was diagnosed with ocular melanoma and Myasthenia gravis and my life came to a sudden halt. Six years later and I am able to create again. Polymer clay found me about a year and a half ago and in August of 2015, I was involved in my first clay swap of “inchies”. My vision isn’t the best, but where I create I can control the light. The clay has given me the ability to create my canvasses in a new way. I use all white clay, most of the time, and paint the personality into each piece with acrylic paint.
Having a very sarcastic sense of humor, has gotten me through the last few years. The same filter in my brain that chooses my words, also designs my creations. I think my creations fall into the catagory of “Somewhere South of Normal”, although I would never say that to any of my creations. LOL !
I work in a small area of a large room. I have walled off my area with shelving and it keeps everything fairly close to me. The downside of that is, it can be sitting right beside me and I can’t see it, because I “need” too much stuff (that’s really not necessary). I guess you could call it, “on the edge of order.”
My favorite thing to do with polymer clay, is to sculpt new friends. All of the face boxes are called, Morton’s Friends, because Morton was the first one. All of them have their own name, because anything with a face needs a name. The sculpting aspect of it gives me more freedom, so I’m not bound to any certain technique. I make it up as I go and the result is, I have a new canvas to paint and I am happy.
Sometimes it’s a phrase that gets stuck in my head and it gets a little twisted. I never sketch what I’m going to make. I’m constantly trouble-shooting the steps and order that I should take to make it happen. For “Edna, the Fairy”, I knew that I wanted to make a plump fairy and a few hours later, Edna had happened. I guess my process is letting go, so my brain can speak directly to my hands. When they communicate, my art happens.
I really don’t have a favorite piece. Each is my favorite, until I make another. In my work area, all of those faces can see me, so I really try not to upset any of them by showing any kind of favoritism. LOL!
One day the idea of making a little red wagon, with wheels that moved, became my focus. I played with the idea in my head, until I figured out how to make it work. After making the wagon, it sat there for hours, just looking lonely, until I realized it needed a rider. Earlier, I saw a picture of a nose and that nose designed the face of the rider. I didn’t know what the rest was going to look like, but after a few twists and turns of the clay, wire, and foil, I had a rider sitting in the wagon. But the poor guy had no way of pulling the wagon now. I was listening to classic rock and the song, Slow Ride started to play. I knew the mode of locomotion, had to be a snail.
I don’t really have a polymer clay idol, but I do have idols. In no particular order they are; Alice Stroppel, Lisa Renner, Doreen Gay-Kassel, Marina Sciascia, Debbie Crothers, and Katie Oskin (the normal looking, crazy lady making those tiny faces). I would love to get all of these ladies together (add a few alcoholc beverages) and ask them these same questions.
Yes, I do take orders. I do sell locally at the Paducah Art Guild Shop, plus I have pieces in other galleries. I have an Etsy and Pinterest accounts, but use them mostly as examples of my art or to generate special orders. I am in the process of getting my website and a Pinterest business account set up. I am able to create again. Life is good !
Are you are a polymer clay artist? Would you like to be the featured artist for the month? If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, please go HERE and answer the questionnaire and email your responses to me. Artists are subject to approval and are featured on a first come, first serve basis.